Nola Motorsports Park - One to forget for most of the AMR runners in GT4 America

Monday, May 23, 2022


With a couple of exceptions, this weekend’s GT4 Americas debut at the Nola Motorsports Park, Louisiana turned into an event to forget for many of the Aston Martin Racing Vantage GT4 teams.

Originally intended to compete at the Ozarks International Raceway, this second round of the GT4 America Series was moved to the Nola Motorsport circuit near New Orleans – a circuit unknown to most, making for an event of potential surprises!!

Unfortunately, those surprises began with the fact that the AMR Vantage GT4 simply wasn’t competitive enough around the 2.75 mile for any of the entries from GMG Racing, Flying Lizard, Heart of Racing, Zelus Motorsport Chouest Povoledo Racing and Bsport Racing teams despite an early showing on the timing screen by the #2 car of Jason Bell and Andrew Davis earlier in the proceedings.

Technical issues also blighted the preparation of some as both Chouest Povoledo cars were beset with exhaust and electrical issues that forced them to miss out on a significant amount of Practice team leading up to the weekend’s two one-hour races, but more bizarre scenes were reserved for Saturday evening’s opening race.

After Q1, the top AMR was the #15 Bsport car of Bryan Putt (shared with Kenton Koch) who had qualified P12 overall but P5 in their Pro-Am Class with the #24 Heart of Racing AMR of Gray Newell (with Ian James) just behind in P6 with the #2 car P9 in class and the #888 Zelus Am class entered car of Sean Whalen and Matt Guiver P21 overall and P7 in class. The #8 Flying Lizard car of Elias Sabo (and Andy Lee) would start from the pit lane with the #50 of Ross Chouest (with Aaron Povoledo) starting from the rear of the grid having been able to set no time in Q1.

That was however about as far as things would get after their formation lap as with storm clouds looming around the circuit, an error from Putt at the start lead to his car spearing across the start straight – collecting at least three other cars in the process to bring out an immediate Safety Car even before some had crossed the start line.

Just a few more laps behind the Safety Car and Mother Nature played her own top trump card with torrential rain and lightning descending around the circuit to bring about an immediate cessation of activities via a red flag with track action not resuming for a number of hours.

Eventually restarting in the wet behind the Safety Car again, starting drivers would complete just two further laps at race pace before the pit window was opened and allowed most to pit at the first opportunity with around half the race still to run.

Sadly, an off for the #2 GMG Aston Martin and another car just prior to their pit stop brought out another Full Course Yellow that would extend to the end of the race with Race Control ‘calling’ it with eleven minutes still remaining on the clock.

Bizarrely, the #24 Heart of Racing AMR entry would be listed as a P3 in Pro-Am finisher as that was where they finished but the #50 Chouest Povoledo car would have a 44 second post-race time penalty added to their weekend’s woes for a pitstop violation despite their P8 finish on track. The other finishes were the #8 Flying Lizard in P14 and the #888 Zelus car P24 overall.

Sunday’s race 2 continued the same theme as a fast Kenton Koch was demoted five places on the grid for Putt’s accident in race 1 meaning that the top Aston Martin runner was the #24 Heart of Racing car of James in P6.

Thankfully dry but repressively hot and humid, race 2 got underway OK this time around with Koch again making up for lost time as the Aston’s took the race to the many BMW’s as the Porsche’s had already scamped off ahead.

Posting the fastest lap of the race at that stage, a brief FCY for a stranded car allowed Koch to line up his next cars to circulate fourth overall and second in class coming up to the halfway mark whilst Davis and his #2 GMG car had moved up from last on the grid to P18 overall too!

The #24 pitted but Newell broke the minimum time requirement by two seconds meaning that he would get a drive through whilst Putt (now in the #15 car) looked to get around the #8 Flying Lizard car of Sabo in P8.

Six minutes later – and contact between the Chouest Povoledo car and the Heart of Racing car took out the #24 car with broken rear suspension, but Newell was at least able to find a place of safety to park to prevent another period of caution.

The highest Aston Martin’s were now the #8 car of Sabo P7 in Pro-Am and the #888 Zelus car of Whalen P4 in Am but that was all to change again with another inter AMR clash between the Bsport car and the Lizard car that would see both cars retire due to damage with a quarter of the race still remaining.

Despite the carnage on track, the race stayed green and that was enough for Whalen to progress his #888 car up to P3 in class by the end of the race for their first GT4 America podium. Congratulations to them.

Next race is at Virginia International Raceway in mid-June.

Photo credits – Teams / GT4 America
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Technorati
  • Facebook
  • TwitThis
  • MySpace
  • LinkedIn
  • Live
  • Google
  • Reddit
  • Sphinn
  • Propeller
  • Slashdot
  • Netvibes